City to use 2014 funding for bridge repairsMonday, November 04, 2013 by: Darren Taylor
At its regular meeting Monday, City Council approved a funding request from City staff for repairs to bridges damaged in the heavy local flooding of September 9 and 10.
The exact cost of the repairs is not yet known, but a report prepared by the City Engineering and Planning Department requested Council put "the majority" of the 2014 $2.5 million capital budget money, for bridges and aqueducts, toward repair work involving bridges on Fourth Line, Allen's Side Road, Old Goulais Bay Road, Old Garden River Road and Great Northern Road, as well as scour and erosion issues on several other bridges and culverts.
That spending means second phase work on the Fort Creek aqueduct will be postponed to 2015.
However, the City is confident that amount of $2.5 million will cover the cost of repairs involved with September's flooding.
Engineering and Planning points out that some of the structures listed in its report will actually have their lifespans extended and their ability to withstand future high flows of water improved as a result of the work required.
Ward Four City Councillor Lou Turco asked Council and staff if, by taking the 2014 capital budget money and putting it to use for bridge repairs now and putting Phase II of the Fort Creek aqueduct on hold until 2015, was like "robbing Peter to pay Paul."
To that, Director of Engineering Services Don Elliott replied: "The Fort Creek system survived this event. The bridges did not."
"This is the best fit. We believe we can postpone Phase II of Fort Creek for a year."
Elliott added: "We're happy with the prices we're getting (from contractors) for the repair work so far."
Repairs on the Fourth Line at Root River bridge will cost almost $168,000 to repair, it is estimated.
In addition, an allowance of $189,000 has been set aside for work in the river, described as "extensive."
The bridge at Allen's Side Road at West Davignon Creek must be completely replaced at a cost of around $370,000.
The City staff report points out this bridge was on the priority list for replacement, and most likely would have been replaced in 2016.
The bridge at Great Northern Road over the Root River suffered the loss of a storm drain and a slope failure, and, the report states: "It is proving to be a very difficult design for slope protection measures, due to steepness of slope and limited access."
A detailed cost estimate is not available yet, but $150,000 has been budgeted for that project.
Components of a bridge on Old Goulais Bay Road can be salvaged, the report states, but at least $86,000 will have to be spent in that area.
These are just some of many bridge projects listed in the staff report.
Single lane bridges that Sault Ste. Marie shares with Prince Township will be upgraded, when recently-announced provincial money for those bridges comes in.
The City's share of orthophotography (aerial photography) of our area, necessary in the wake of the September flooding and estimated to be $20,000, is included in staff's funding request.
Ward Two City Councillor Terry Sheehan asked whether provincial funding is available for the bridge repairs.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Joe Fratesi responded by stating a City request for funding in this case would not come near the provincial threshold required for assistance, but did not rule out that becoming a possibility in the future.